Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mobile health = wireless health

Everything is wireless these days. Laptops all have built-in wireless communication capabilities (WiFi, Bluetooth, WWAN, etc.). Almost everyone carries a mobile phone. We're living in a wireless world where people expect to retrieve information instantaneously and where we have access to vital pieces of health data at our fingertips. Are physicians and other health care professionals effectively leveraging wireless technologies to improve the delivery of health care? We all know that the mobile health or m-Health phenomenon relies heavily on wireless communication. Soon, every household will have a dozen home medical devices that all communicate via wireless signals. They will consolidate data into a computer that sits in the home where patients can see their information, communicate with doctors and other health care professionals, and monitor their health via mobile health computing technology.

As wireless technology becomes more integrated into our daily lives, how will we keep up with the information overload that occurs as we get bombarded with e-mails, text messages, and other forms of digital data? Will patients visit their doctors with a wireless pad (like an Apple iPad) so that they're ready to take notes, look up health information, and even challenge their doctors when they doubt the advice they're receiving? How would you like it if your patient was busy typing away and searching the Internet as you were trying to counsel them about disease self-management strategies? Given that mobile computers and wireless technology is ubiquitous, this is unavoidable. Your patient may look something up when you leave the room by pulling out a smartphone and opening up a mobile web browser. Are you ready to face sophisticated consumers who are constantly trying to stay current on the latest health information that's out there?

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